One activist pushes a faith-based opposition to the practice.
This is the second story I’ve come across in the last week that’s so gut wrenching to read that it felt like there was a giant intestinal parasite burrowing out of my stomach. Last time it was a frank feature on child sex abuse in Africa; this time it’s the most graphic, uncensored account of female genital mutilation that I’ve ever come across, courtesy of Der Spiegel. Yet, thankfully, it comes with this encouraging development: A group of prominent Muslim scholars recently convened in Cairo, Egypt and agreed that the practice is incompatible with Islam.
The two-day confab was the brainchild of 71-year-old R|diger Nehberg, who has documented female genital mutilation throughout Africa in order to convert world leaders to his cause. Despite protestations from the audience — one man argued that showing photos of female genital mutilation was a crime and that “our women have been circumcised for thousands of years, and they have never complained” — conference attendees concluded that there is no medical or religious basis for the practice. (Nehberg noted, “We simply did not invite those who disagree with us.”)
Both Christianity and Islam have been used to defend female genital mutilation, but Nehberg believes the “custom can only be brought to an end with the power of Islam.” It should be noted, though, that a UNICEF report on the practice concluded that by “looking at religion independently, it is not possible to establish a general association with [female genital mutilation or circumcision] status.” Not to mention that while female genital mutilation is common in parts of Africa and the Middle East, “it is relatively unknown in most other parts of the Muslim world, including South and Southeast Asia, North Africa and Saudi Arabia,” according to the BBC.
Nevertheless, Nehberg’s approach seems like a reasonable place to start. Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Jumaa signed a resolution to criminalize female genital mutilation. Nehberg also plans to “print a small book containing the recommendation and the scholars’ comments and distribute 4 million copies worldwide.” It isn’t too likely that this will spark an overnight revolution, but here’s hoping the right people read it and take heed.
More Related Stories
- My miscarriages made me question being pro-choice
- Why I tried to be a punk
- I'm terrified of the cicada onslaught
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- SAT's right answers are all wrong
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- Conservatives A-OK with closeted Boy Scouts
- Horrifying new trend: Posting rapes to Facebook
- Corporate greed is poisoning America -- literally
- The new geography of poverty
- Childhood ADHD linked to obesity in adulthood
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- Chicago man breaks world record with 48-hour Ferris wheel ride
- I will never be able to afford Angelina Jolie's mastectomy
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- GOP actually bullies an anti-bullying bill
- Georgian police slow to react to mob violence at gay rights march
- 1 killed in Oklahoma tornado
- Thousands treated for sexual abuse-related injuries in military
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11